A day to love plants that die well

If you find the chore of deadheading scary, don’t fear. For some plants, deadheading has been dead for a decade and more. Dutch plantsman Piet Oudolf woke us to the beauty of plants in all their stages, including the end of their lifecycle. In other words, dying and dead. Confession: I’d never absorbed the Oudolfian phrase, “plants that […]

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Live long and garden

It isn’t unusual to see Toronto playing other cities on film or TV. Toronto pretends to be New York in shows like Suits, for instance. But I went Hey! with delight seeing our city cast as a place on a different planet in a recent episode of Star Trek: Discovery. Welcome to a celebration on Vulcan! That accounts […]

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Memento flori in a vase

Are you thinking, What a hot mess! when you look at my opening shot? Listen, kid, it’s late October. Everything in the garden was a tad weather-beaten when I cut the Pyracantha berries I knew would glow in an arrangement. But my theatre training tells me something about those raggedy edges and hail-pockmarked leaves. Like stage makeup: It won’t read from […]

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RBG’s Rock Garden rocks in October!

If you only think “spring bulbs” or “rock garden plants” when you think of the Rock Garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, you haven’t seen it lately. In the last couple years, it has undergone a major transformation. I can’t believe it took me so long to visit, but being carless is my excuse. Even […]

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Getting ready for the big chill

Today’s cold snap reminds us. Winter is coming! The first frost for Toronto statistically falls around October 29th. But when overnight temps dip into the low single digits, like now, we know that anything could happen. So today, in honour of Cathy’s In a Vase on Monday (IAVOM) over on Rambling in the Garden, I took pity on some […]

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Mums, the word at Allan Gardens

The trouble with digital cameras is that they can do everything for you except point and shoot. It’s almost too easy. But, hey, it’s never too late to climb out of that comfort zone. That’s why my friend E convinced me to join her at an advanced photography course offered by Parks and Rec. Our first challenge: going fully […]

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Thanksgiving flowers and revasing

Our guests were almost here for our first new-tradition of Thanksgiving brunch on Monday. Then I noticed the beautiful arrangement my Number One Dot had gifted me for my Big Birthday. Oops. It really needed retiring. Once the flowers were pulled from the vase, though, it was clear that some were up for a second round. The blue […]

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Kylemore Abbey and Victorian walled garden, Ireland

Closing time seems to be my siren call. Especially when it comes to gardens. We were in Galway, Ireland, one afternoon when we impulsively decided to drive 90 minutes northwest to see Kylemore Abbey. Once a stately home, it’s now a Benedictine abbey, still famous for its postcard-pretty setting and restored Victorian walled garden. There are only […]

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Knotweed: The naughty and the not

To be honest, most knotweeds are at least a little naughty. They can spreaaaaaaad. That might be a good trait in a ground cover. But some, notably the invasive and hard to eradicate Japanese knotweed (Reynoutria japonica, syn. Fallopia japonica, syn. Polygonum cuspidatum), are very, very naughty indeed. This PDF from the Ontario Invasive Plant Council explains. Others, like our covergirl, Persicaria amplexicaulis […]

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My volunteer tomato adventure

After the Tomato Heartbreak of 2016 (*more on that in a moment), I vowed there’d be no more than one tomato plant in my garden. Certainly no tomatoes planted in my big garden trough. Despite last year being one of the best years in memory for tomatoes and despite me darting out, waving arms and shouting, […]

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Zinnia, the gift that gives and gives

Heaven knows why I resisted growing Zinnia for so long. I think I assumed my garden was too shady, or that I didn’t have enough room. This year, I had a packet of red-and-white ‘Canada Day’ zinnia seed mix from Renee’s Garden. When it was fairly late, the first week of July, I thought, what […]

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And now, June Blake’s Garden, Blessington

After our wet, wild, wonderful day at Jimi Blake’s garden on our Irish holiday, we tore ourselves off to visit the garden of his sister June Blake, about five minutes away. It was almost closing, and our visit was cut decisively short by a sudden, intense deluge, a theme for the day. The siblings share an exuberant […]

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